United Nations: India, the world's third largest carbon emitter, on Sunday ratified the landmark Paris climate deal, giving a major boost to the deal which appeared tantalisingly close to enter into force by the end of this year.
Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin handed over the Instrument of Ratification signed by President Pranab Mukherjee, to Santiago Villalpando, the Head of the Treaties Division at the UN, at a special ceremony here attended by top UN officials and senior diplomats to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's 147th birth anniversary.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded India's "climate leadership", saying?India's ratification of the Paris Climate Change agreement moves the world an "important step closer" toward achieving the goal of entering the landmark deal into force this year.
In his message for the International Day of Non-violence, marked every year on Gandhi's birth anniversary, Ban said there is no better way to commemorate Gandhi and his legacy for people and the planet than with India submitting its instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
He called on all countries to complete their domestic processes for ratification and also strive in all activities to achieve progress through non-violence.
The UN chief said the commitment to sustainable living that Gandhi emphasised on is reflected in a "momentous way" as India is depositing its instrument of ratification to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
"India keeps its promise. On Gandhiji's birth anniversary, we deposit the instrument of ratification of Paris Agreement on climate change," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.
With India stressing on the importance of climate justice, its goal will be that "climate justice ends are also served" once the treaty comes into force, Akbaruddin said.
The ratification by India, which has a population of over 1.2 billion, is expected to give momentum to the implementation of measures at the international level to control global warming by limiting greenhouse gases.
The ratification formalises pledges made by each country, including India, to take actions to curb or lower greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 onwards and try to keep the rise in average global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.
India, the world's third biggest carbon emitter after China and the US which are responsible for around 40 per cent of the global carbon emissions, accounts for 4.1 per cent of global emissions.
Last month, the US and China had formally joined the Paris agreement, which was adopted by 195 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change last December in Paris.
The pact will come into force after it has been ratified by at least 55 countries which account for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. With India's move, a total of 62 countries accounting for almost 52 per cent of emissions have now ratified the accord.
Adopted in Paris by the 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at a conference known as COP21 last December, the Agreement was signed in New York on 22 April this year by 175 countries.
A total of 191 countries have signed the Paris Agreement so far.
However, India has decided to ratify the agreement "in the context" of its national laws, availability of means of implementation and "its own assessment" of global commitment to combating climate change.
"While agreeing to ratify the Paris agreement, the Cabinet has also decided that India should declare that it will treat its national laws, its development agenda, availability of means of implementation, its assessment of global commitment to combating climate change, and predictable and affordable access to cleaner source of energy as the context in which the agreement is being ratified," an official statement had earlier said.
The Union Cabinet had given its nod to ratifying the Paris climate deal on September 28, days after Modi announced this at BJP's National Council meet in Kozhikode. The move is expected to give momentum to the implementation of measures at the international level to control global warming.
China and the US jointly ratifying the Paris climate change deal has given hope that the landmark accord may come into effect by the end of this year.
Akbaruddin had on Friday said that India had played a "key role" in the negotiations and finalisation of the Paris agreement as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a "personal commitment" to the climate deal.
He had said that India's effort was to be amongst those nations who give a push to the entry into force.
Ban in his message said: "I warmly congratulate India for its climate leadership, and for building on the strong momentum we see from all corners of the globe for the agreement to enter into force as quickly as possible this year. India's ratification of the agreement moves the world an important step closer toward achieving that goal."
Yesterday, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave told reporters in New Delhi that "this (decision) was taken after a lot of deliberations and with a view to give the world a messege... India is fast becoming a super power".
The UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development David Nabarro had last week said the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change is closer to entering into force, after India submits its ratification.
"We are tantalisingly close to the Paris Agreement entering into force," he added.
Nabarro had expressed confidence that the Agreement will enter into force at some point this year, highlighting that at least 14 other countries, representing at least 12 per cent of global emissions, have committed to ratifying the pact.
"There's a kind of race going on now, for countries to come in there and make sure that they are part of the ratification community to show that they are part of wanting to get the Agreement into force," he said.
"We think we're going to have the speediest entry into force for any agreement that requires such a large number of ratifications. And that's why I've got a smile, because it's really good news," he added.